You are here

Unveiling Entrepreneurial Activity in the Informal Economy

Submitted by AFAM on Sat, 01/25/2020 - 10:41pm

Fellowship Description

Research program title

Unveiling Entrepreneurial Activity in the Informal Economy

Reference number



Robert Nason and Joel Bothello

Program description

The informal economy, defined as business activities that occur outside of formal institutional boundaries but within the boundaries of informal institutions, is a massive force in the engine of the world economy, but it remains largely shrouded in secrecy and hidden from sight. The goal of our research program is to unveil entrepreneurial dynamics in the informal economy.

In collaboration with a local NGO, we will explore the role of non-market institutions in driving informal economic activity in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. We will be working with and collecting both quantitative and qualitative data on all enterprises in a particular township. This will include novel sets of survey, visual, and geospatial data.

We will compliment this quantitative assessments of the informal economy with more targeted qualitative data meant to unpack the nature of non-market institutions in guiding economic activity. Specifically, we will conduct participant focus groups and qualitative interviews on salient non-market institutions, including: family, community, and religion.

Our intention is that this combined approach will enable a more rigorous and authentic theory development on entrepreneurial activities in the informal economy.

Academic qualifications required

PhD in Entrepreneurship, Organization Theory, Strategy, or related fields. Qualitative or Quantitative expertise welcome, specific expertise in geospatial or photo analysis is a plus. Demonstrated capability – or potential - for publishing in high quality management journals.

Eligibility requirements

  • Applicants must not currently hold a postdoctoral appointment at Concordia
  • Priority will be given to postdoctoral fellows who have obtained their PhD from another university although in exceptional cases Concordia graduates may be considered
  • Applicants must adhere to the postdoctoral fellow eligibility criteria outlined in Concordia University’s Postdoctoral Policy

Timeline and application process

  • Application deadline: April 15, 2020. Interested applicants are encouraged to express interest directly to Robert Nason or Joel Bothello.
  • Fellowship start date: Fall 2020, no later than Winter 2021.

Submission process

  • All documents must be submitted to Niyusha Samadi.
  • Please include the reference number with your application

Application checklist

  • One to three (1-3) page research statement demonstrating fit with the program described above.
  • Current curriculum vitae demonstrating research excellence and a capacity for leadership in the domain (maximum 5 pages).
  • Two letters of reference from academic supervisors or current employers to be sent via e-mail directly to Niyusha Samadi.


The prestigious Horizon Postdoctoral Fellowships are valued at $50,000 per year plus benefits and full access to Concordia’s services, including GradProSkills.